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Soteriology (The Doctrine of Salvation)
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Soteriology (The Doctrine of Salvation)

I.       The Meaning of Salvation

A.     Salvation from a Negative Perspective

1.        To deliver humanity from death.

 a.      Our souls die because of sins (Gen 2:17; Lk 9:60; Eph 2:1).

 b.      Without salvation, we are eternally dead (Mt 25:41, 46; Rev 21:8).

 c.      The Lord Jesus can save us from death (2 Cor 1:10; Rev 20:6).

 d.      Through his death, the Lord Jesus destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil (1 Cor 15:54–57; Heb 2:14).

2.        To deliver humanity from sin.

 a.      Death comes from sin. If there is no remission of sins, no one can escape death (Rom 5:12, 6:23).

 b.      Under the Mosaic law, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins (Heb 9:22).

 c.      Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (Mt 1:21; 1 Tim 1:15).

 d.      Jesus Christ shed his blood for the whole world, and he can cleanse all our sins (Tit 2:14; Heb 9:12–14).

3.        To deliver humanity from the dominion of the law.

 a.      The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law (Rom 5:13; 1 Cor 15:56).

 b.      Jesus Christ was born under the law to redeem those under the law (Gal 4:4–5).

 c.      Jesus was made a curse for us—on the cross—to redeem us from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13; Col 2:14, 16–17).

 d.      Those who have been redeemed by the Lord are no  longer under the law. They are liberated from the bondage of the law (Rom 6:14, 7:4, 6).

4.        To deliver humanity from the power of the devil.

 a.      Satan is the evil one that causes sin and death (Jn 8:44; Jas 3:14–16; Rev 20:10).

 b.      The whole world lies under the reign of Satan (1 Jn 5:19)

 c.      The Lord Jesus has overcome the devil (Jn 16:33; Heb 2:14, 4:15; Rev 3:21).

 d.      In Christ Jesus, we can turn away from the power of Satan and overcome the world (Acts 26:18; 1 Jn 5:4–5, 18).

B.     Salvation from a Positive Perspective

1.        To lead humanity into the kingdom of heaven.

 a.      The message that Jesus Christ proclaimed is the good news of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 4:17).

 b.      Jesus’ disciples also proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 10:7).

 c.      Those who believe in the gospel will be saved by the Lord into the kingdom of heaven (2 Tim 4:18).

 d.      Receiving the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our heavenly inheritance (Eph 1:13–14).

2.        To give humanity everlasting life.

 a.      The Lord’s words are called the “words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68; Acts 5:20).

 b.      Salvation is called “the grace of life” (1 Pet 3:7).

 c.      Jesus laid down his life to give us eternal life (1 Jn 2:25; Jn 3:16, 36; Rom 5:21).

 d.      By the promised Holy Spirit we obtain eternal life (Jn 4:14, 7:37–39; Rev 22:17).

3.        To bestow glory on humanity.

 a.      The grace of God is boundless. The Lord justifies those whom he called and bestows glory on them (Rom 8:30; Heb 2:10).

 b.      The Lord will change our lowly body into the likeness of his glorious body (Phil 3:21).

 c.      The Lord Jesus protects and assures our glorious heavenly inheritance (Col 3:24; 1 Pet 1:4).

 d.      The Lord will reward the saints with the unfading crown of glory (1 Pet 5:4, 10).

II.    The Redemptive Plan Of God

A.     The Necessity of Salvation

1.        People cannot save themselves from sin and death.

 a.      The whole world is subject to the devil (Eph 2:1–3; 1 Jn 5:19).

 b.      Humanity is bound by sin (Jer 13:23; Rom 7:14–15, 24).

 c.      Humanity’s lot is to be judged and condemned (Rom 6:23; Rev 21:8).

2.        God is love and cannot endure to see humanity’s condemnation.

 a.      God treasures his creation, especially humankind (Ps 8:3–4, 144:3).

 b.      God takes no pleasure in seeing people perish (Ezek 33:11; 2 Pet 3:9).

 c.      In mercy, God planned to redeem a fallen humanity (Ps 103:13; Prov 24:11–12; Isa 49:15; 1 Jn 4:8, 16).

B.     The Promise of Salvation

1.        God told the devil that the seed of the woman would bruise his head (Gen 3:15).

2.        God promised Abraham that the Savior would come from his seed, and that all nations would thus be blessed by him (Gen 22:18, 12:1–3, 17:1–6).

3.        God renewed his covenant with Israel from time to time, for the Lord promised that a Savior would be given to Israel in due time.

 a.      Jacob prophesied that Shiloh (meaning “the one who brings peace”) would come from Judah, and to him would belong the obedience of the people (Gen 49:10, NKJV).

 b.      God promised he would raise up a prophet, in his name, from Israel to guide the people (Deut 18:15–19).

 c.      God’s firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth, would come from the seed of David (Ps 89:27–37; Jer 23:5–6).

 d.      “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ ” (Isa 9:6).

 e.      All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God (Isa 52:10).

C.     Types of Salvation

1.        Garments of skins (Gen 3:21).

God made garments of skins to cover the shame of our first parents, Adam and Eve. This covering typifies God’s sending of his anointed to shed his blood. Jesus was God’s anointed and sinless Son, but through God’s mercy, Jesus shed his blood for the remission of our sins. Using the typology of Adam and Eve’s covering, we understand that it is through Jesus’ blood that we can cover our shame and receive justification (cf. Jn 1:29; 1 Pet 3:18; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:27).

2.        The bronze serpent (Num 21:9).

God told Moses to set a bronze serpent on a pole. The Israelites bitten by the fiery serpents survived after they beheld the bronze serpent (Num 21:4–9). So the bronze serpent typifies Jesus Christ and the redeeming sacrifice of the cross. Those who have faith in Jesus and look forward to his coming will not be condemned, rather, they will be saved (cf. Jn 3:14–15).

3.        Moses was called to deliver Israel out of Egypt. God sent Moses to deliver Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh. This act typifies Jesus’ coming to the world in order to save God’s chosen from the terrible reign of Satan (cf. Deut 18:15–19; Acts 3:22–23). Moses, as a type of Jesus Christ, is a prefiguration of Jesus as follows:

 a.      Moses was persecuted by Pharaoh during his infancy. Likewise, the Lord Jesus was persecuted by Herod (cf. Ex 1:15–16, 22; Mt 2:16–18).

 b.      Moses rejected the prosperity and glamour of Egypt. The Lord Jesus became poor for our sake (cf. Heb 11:24–27; 2 Cor 8:9).

 c.      Moses guided the Israelites through the Red Sea, a prefiguration of baptism. The Lord Jesus wants to save us from this sinful world, typified by Egypt and Babylon. Through water baptism, we belong to Christ (cf. Ex 14:21–23; 1 Cor 10:1–2; Gal 3:27).

 d.      Moses built the tabernacle in the wilderness, which is symbolic of this world. The Lord Jesus, likewise, built his church in the world (cf. Ex 25:8–9; Acts 20:28; Heb 8:1–2).

 e.      Moses was faithful in the matters of God’s household. The Lord Jesus humbled himself and became obedient unto death for God’s household—the church (cf. Num 12:7; Phil 2:4–8; Heb 3:2, 5).

III. Jesus Christ Has Fulfilled The Promise Of Salvation

A.     Salvation Is Manifested through Jesus Christ

1.        Grace and truth come through Jesus Christ (Jn 1:15–17).

2.        Grace is given to those who are in Christ (Eph 2:7; 2 Tim 1:9–10).

3.        No other name under heaven, except Jesus, is given among men, whereby we must be saved (Jn 14:6; Acts 4:12).

4.        To see Jesus is to see God’s salvation (Lk 2:29–32, 3:6).

B.     The Blood of Jesus Christ Fulfilled Salvation.

According to the law, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb 9:22). But the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins (Heb 10:1–4). Hence, the Lord Jesus had to shed his blood in order to fulfill salvation (Heb 10:5–10). The effects of the blood of Jesus Christ are as follows:

1.        Jesus’ precious blood is a ransom.

 a.      Humanity is sold to sin, being a slave of sin (Jn 8:34; Rom 7:14).

 b.      If humanity is to be redeemed, it must depend upon the blood of Christ, since the life of all flesh is in the blood. We can have redemption and forgiveness of sins through Jesus’ blood (Lev 17:11; Mt 20:28; Eph 1:7; 1 Pet 1:18–19).

 c.      Jesus purchases Christians with his precious blood (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 6:20; Rev 5:9).

2.        Sin is cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

 a.      The sacrificial rites in the Old Testament were only a shadow of the good things to come (Heb 10:1–4).

 b.      Only the precious blood of the Lord can purify our conscience from dead works (Heb 9:14; 1 Jn 1:7; Rev 1:5).

 c.      Through baptism, the blood of the Lord Jesus can wash away our sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16; Rom 3:25).

3.        The blood of the Lord Jesus leads us to see God.

 a.      People are separated from God because of sin (Isa 59:2).

 b.      We are reconciled with God through the blood of Jesus Christ (Eph 2:13; Col 1:20).

 c.      By the blood of Jesus we can boldly enter into the Holy of Holies (Heb 10:19–20; cf. Mt 27:50–51; Heb 9:7–9).

IV.  The Giving And Receving Of Salvation

A.     God’s Salvation Is Universal

1.        God desires all people to be saved, for he is not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance (1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9).

2.        God loves humanity, regardless of their race or social status (Jn 3:16; Gal 3:27–28; Rev 7:9).

3.        The Lord commanded the disciples to proclaim the gospel to every created being (Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:47).

4.        Though God’s salvation is universally applicable for humanity, according to the Bible, God will not save fallen angels (Heb 2:16; 2 Pet 2:4).

B.     Salvation Is a Gift from God

1.        Salvation does not result from our own deeds, but from God’s grace (Eph 2:8–9).

2.        It is the Lord who chose us, and vice versa (Jn 15:16; Eph 1:5–6).

3.        God will have mercy upon those whom he wills (Rom 9:14–18).

4.        God grants us an inexpressible gift (2 Cor 9:15; cf. Jn 1:16).

C.     Salvation Is a Free Gift

1.        Now to one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his wage (Rom 4:4–5).

2.        We are not saved by our own doings (Rom 4:6–7; Eph 2:9).

3.        We are not saved through the deeds of the law (Rom 3:20, 28).

4.        Salvation is freely given by God’s grace to humanity (Rom 3:24; Rev 22:17).

D.     We Receive Salvation through Faith

1.        By God’s grace we are saved through faith (Rom 3:25; Eph 2:8).

2.        Salvation is given to everyone who has faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 1:16–17, 10:13).

3.        The just shall live by faith (Rom 1:17; Heb 11:6).

4.        True faith is manifested by deeds (Jas 2:20–26).

E.     Now Is the Acceptable Time and the Day of Salvation

1.        Now is the time of the Holy Spirit of the latter rain, a time of God’s acceptance (Lk 4:10, 19; Joel 2:28–29, 32; Zech 10:1).

2.        Pray to God before the flood of great waters rush over you (Ps 32:6, 69:13). Turn to God before the imminent final judgment (1 Pet 4:7; 2 Pet 3:4–9).

3.        Accept Jesus Christ today before it is too late (Lk 16:22–31; Ps 95:7; Heb 2:1–3).

4.        Behold, now is the acceptable time and the day of salvation! (Prov 27:1; Isa 49:8; 2 Cor 6:2).

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